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Preps to watch

Preps to watch

From the Preps to Watch: 2019-2020 series

Michael Robinson Jr.

Waterloo West



In his second year as a starter, Robinson has blossomed into a force as a defensive end for the Wahawks. Robinson leads all Class 4A players with 15 tackles for loss and his seven sacks are tied for the 4A state lead. Robinson had four sacks in West’s win over Des Moines Hoover last Friday. “We brought him up last year as a sophomore and he had his eyes opened a little bit, but he was a much improved player by the end of the season. I saw that maturity when he then started as point guard for the basketball season,” West coach Lonnie Moore said. A running back also for West, Robinson has scored touchdowns both times he’s touched the ball this season.

Kjuan Owens

Waterloo East



After playing a handful of varsity games last year as a freshman, the 6-foot, 228-pound running back/safety has broken out in 2019, including a monster game Friday as the Trojans snapped an 18-game losing streak with a 41-13 win over Newton. Owens rushed for 317 yards on 18 carries, and recorded three tackles defensively while also handling East’s kickoff chores. Owens now has 510 yards and four touchdowns on 51 carries for the Trojans. “We can put him anywhere on the field and he is going to figure it out. He is a very knowledgeable football player. Just a good, all-around kid,” East coach Xavier Leonard said. Owens also runs track for the Trojans.

Cannon Butler

Waterloo Columbus



The 6-foot-6, 215-pound Butler, who is committed to Northern Iowa, has been a dominant force for the Sailors at defensive end and tight end. He ranks second for Columbus with 29 tackles, and he has five tackles for loss. He’s caught four passes for 53 yards and touchdown, while he has recorded 25 knockdown blocks in the Sailors’ past two games. “He is a model teammate that rarely leaves the field and does not care who gets the credit. Cannon is one of the nicest kids you will meet, but when he steps between the white lines, he plays with a level of nastiness you love to see,” said Columbus coach Brad Schmit. Butler also participates on the Columbus basketball and track and field teams.

Sara Hansen




A three-year starter for the ninth-ranked Pirates (2A), Hansen was instrumental in a strong performance by Hudson at last weekend’s Wahawk Invitational, where the Pirates took a set but fell in the championship match to top-ranked (5A) Cedar Falls. With a year and a half left, Hansen has already recorded 1,599 assists in her career. “We have a great group of juniors and she leads by example. She gets to about every second ball and has great hands and gets the ball to where it needs to go with accuracy,” Hudson head coach Steve Baird said. An honor student, Hansen also plays soccer and basketball.

Sophia Jungling



Cross country

After battling health problems early in the season, Jungling put together two strong races last week, running a 19:33 at Starmont on Tuesday, before following that up with a 19:49 at the Rich Engel Invitational in Cedar Falls where she finished fourth out of more than 120 runners. Fourth a year ago in 2A at the state cross country meet, the all-state basketball player and reigning 800-meter state champion has already received four Division I cross country/track offers. “She’s starting to get back into that rare Sophia form, but I think over the next three or four weeks she is going to just get better and better,” Falcons head coach Jason Berkey said. Jungling is a National Honor Society member.

Grace Frericks

Cedar Falls



Frericks was part of three wins, two individual and a relay, in helping the Tigers edge West Des Moines Dowling for the Fort Dodge Invitational title last weekend. Frericks, second as a freshman at the state meet in the 100 backstroke and fourth in the 50 free, has posted the second-fastest times in the state this season in the 50 free (24.12), 100 free (52.21) and 100 back (57.22). “She has been very impressive,” Cedar Falls head coach Scott Pinter said. “Grace works incredibly hard and has been a fierce competitor in every single meet we have gone to. She’s had a lot of great races this season.”

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Preps to Watch: 2019-2020


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Sports Reporter

I’m a Waterloo native who has covered Cedar Valley sports for more than 30 years for the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier. I’m also a big Cincinnati Reds fan … Go Big Red Machine!

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